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440 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 John Coldwell Adams and an unenIightening response to Roberts's letters by Laurel Boone; they are concluded by a most welcome preliminary bibliography by Adams. The collection's editing has caught many , more errors than in previous symposia volumes, but one still cringes to find the editor himself spelling Moodie as Moody. Does Emily Dickensen still rear her ugly head in American volumes, or Percey Shelly his in English texts? Perhaps more than everthese essays demonstrate that no full portraitof Roberts will be possible until, as Bentley notes in the volume's postscript, scholars have at their disposal trustworthy biographies as well as the much-advertised and long-overdue critical editions of collected poems and letters. Meanwhile, Roberts criticism continues to chart a wayward course that the Ottawa symposium has helped to affirm as much as to question. (I.s. MACLAREN) Frederick Philip Grove. Fanny Essler Translated from the German by Christine Helmers, A.W. Riley, and Douglas O. Spettigue Edited and introduc'ed by A.W. Riley and Douglas O. Spettigue 2 vols. Oberon Press. 236, 232. $27.95 set 'We are emerging,' Felix Paul Greve writes in an 1904 article, 'Flauberts Theorienuberdas Kiinstlertum,' 'fromanerainwhichitwasbelievedthat the best and only way to understand the works ofan artist was to research his life.' Greve, whose ideas in the article are derived in large measure from Flaubert, was mistaken, and this English translation of Fanny Essler, his first German novel, is just one measure of how wrong he was. Fewcritics, Isuspect, believe that the only way to understand a textis to research the life of its author; indeed, many would strenuously deny the relevance of the author to an understanding of texts. We need know nothing about Grove's life, they would argue, to understand Fanny Essler, Settlers ofthe Marsh, or any of the author's other books. But even if we put the author'slife outofourminds, his nameremainsanessentialelementof literary discourse; for, as Michel Foucault points out in 'Qu'est-ce qu'un auteur,' the name of the author functions in literary discourse both as a category by which we organize texts - the very idea of work, of reuvre, itself is a function of authorship - and as a principle of unity. 'Governing this [latter] function,' Foucault writes, 'is the belief that there must be - at a particular level of an author's thought, of his conscious or unconscious desire - a point where contradictions are resolved, where the incompatible elements can be shown to relate to one another or to cohere around a fundamental and originating contradiction.' The significance of the English translation of Fanny Essler lies in its relation to both these functions. HUMANITIES 441 D.O. Spettigue's discovery that prior to 1909 Frederick Philip Grove was the German translator and author Felix Paul Greve has radically altered the way in which Grove's name functions in literary discourse. To begin with, the name 'Grove' now organizes a much larger body of writing. The publication of Greve's novels in English under Grove's name marks the appropriation of one discourse by another, a process that was initiated with the publication of The Master Mason's House and that will undoubtedly continue for some time to come, as Greve's other writing is brought under the name of Grove. More important, however, is the fact that in organizing the writing under one name, critics have begun looking for the principle of unity that orders this newly constituted reuvre. In the Introduction to their translation of Fanny Essler A.W. Riley and D.O. Spettigue clearly locate that unity in the inner life of the author: The publication of The Master Mason's House in English was important to Canadian readers. The publication of Fanny Essler in English is even more significantbecause thisisamore complexbookinits aimsandachievementsand in its relation to the strange inner drama of the author himself. It was written under unusual circumstances, and when its author was still only 25 years old. And yet we can recognize in him the older and more austere figure we know as FrederickPhilip Grove, and see that this novel is very much ofapiecewith all of Grove's work. Fanny Essler...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 440-442
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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